⇧ [VIDÉO] You may also like this affiliate content (after ads)
Psychopathy is a personality disorder characterized by antisocial behavior, lack of empathy and sensitivity, and deep selfishness. Contrary to popular belief, not all psychopaths are murderers or evil people. Despite unattractive character traits, some lead quite ordinary lives and may even become parents. Psychologists decided to study how male psychopaths invest themselves in family life.
In a new study, Christopher Brazil and Anthony Volk, researchers at Brock University, Canada, looked at three main components of family life in particular: copulation (finding a partner), parental investment (caring for children), and somatic problems. cathexis (which means the fact of ensuring one’s own survival, taking care of oneself). “While previous studies have shown that men with more pronounced psychopathic traits seem to invest a lot in mating and very little in raising children, no studies have examined the role of somatic effort,” Brasil explains.
The two researchers then tested whether the male psychopaths’ perceptions of stimuli associated with each of these areas (such as the faces of attractive women, cute babies, and various somatic activities) matched their actual behavior—regardless of whether these perceptions reflected time. spent tackling each of these areas. The results showed that psychopathic traits were associated with higher mating rates and lower parental and somatic behavioral attitudes.
Fathers who don’t take care of their children
This study is based on a sample of 255 young Americans and Canadians aged 25 to 35. To assess their level of contribution to the three study areas, participants underwent a psychopathic trait assessment and then were asked to answer various questionnaires regarding their somatic contributions, their sexual behavior, and their behavioral attitudes as parents.
Data analysis showed that psychopathic traits were associated with stronger mating attitudes and weaker parental and somatic attitudes toward investment. On the other hand, these effects varied depending on the status of the participants: men in relationships showed higher levels of somatic investment, but less investment in mating and parenting. Similarly, participants who were fathers showed higher levels of parental contribution but lower levels of cumulative contribution.
“Men with more pronounced psychopathic traits reported spending more time and energy on copulation and less time and energy on parenting and physical activity,” Brasil told PsyPost. Therefore, it seems that psychopaths are able to compromise by focusing on mating at the expense of the parental and somatic domains. Attitude, obviously not without consequences for posterity …
The study shows that men with more pronounced psychopathic traits are more likely to become fathers, although they admit that they spend less time and energy on their children. Therefore, psychopaths can be “parasitic” fathers, explains Brazil, in the sense that they have many children but do not care for them. We are the opposite of the typical investment model of a non-psychopathic father, the specialist emphasizes.
A study published in 2019 has already revealed the fact that men with a high degree of psychopathy tend to have more children than less psychopathic men. Thus, psychopaths do not have much difficulty in finding partners and having children, but they do not really care about them and rather tend to create other relationships that repeat the same pattern.
Increase your chances of appearing as the perfect partner
The study participants then viewed several images: photos of very attractive women, photos of especially cute babies, and photos illustrating somatic activities (playing sports, eating healthy, making money, etc.). The goal was to explore how they perceived these images and what they evoked in them. Therefore, they had to indicate in each case whether they would date these women, adopt these children, and whether the activity presented seemed attractive to them or not.
The researchers found that psychopathic traits were associated with positive perceptions of mating cues, but rather with negative perceptions of indirect somatic cues (such as work and friendships). In contrast, they found no relationship between psychopathy and how to perceive direct somatic cues (such as exercise) or parental cues.
“This is in line with their stated levels of behavior for each of these domains. They like the stimuli associated with mating and dislike the stimuli associated with physical activities such as working or saving money. But they didn’t show less preference for cute kids, as their lower parental investment might suggest,” Brasil concludes. This can be explained by the fact that psychopaths here tend to act like other men in order to maximize their chances of appearing as an ideal partner for women who may look for certain parental qualities in their future partner.
The researcher summarizes the situation as follows: either psychopaths realize that disliking children can hurt them in their search for a partner – and therefore incentives associated with children are perceived neutrally – or they think that they like children (and would like to have), but in ultimately have neither the strength nor the desire to take care of it when they become fathers.
The authors of the study believe that further research is needed to delve deeper into the issue and be able to provide an evolutionary view of the psychopath profile, in particular by including violence profiles and measures of the immediate environment of male psychopaths. and physiological measures (this study was based on self-reports only). “It would also be important to compare measures such as physiological and self-report scores to find discrepancies that could help clarify how this deceptive personality style might elude detection in mating assessment and selection,” concludes Brazil.